In this episode of The Good Business Podcast, I introduce the topic of the “Gauntlet” (sometimes also referred to as the Crucible), a stage in business where everything seems to go wrong… over and over again. This phase often occurs during periods of growth when the next steps are unclear.

So how do you get through the toughest time in your business without quitting or going crazy?


Episode Transcript:

Welcome back to The Good Business Podcast. I’m your host, Illana Burk, and I am so happy to be back with you guys. It’s been a little bit of a break. As many of you know, I moved around the world and now reside in Portugal. And this is our very first episode back in the saddle in a brand new studio.

So if it sounds a little bit different, that would explain it cuz we’re on the other side of the world.

I am so happy to be back and doing podcast episodes again. I have a big old long list of fantastic topics that are in store for everyone and um, change is a big part of the conversation that we’re gonna be having in the next couple of months here.

So, as you know, I am coming through my own major changes. And entering even more in the future as my business evolves with our new location and a new lifestyle and my own evolving work in the world.

I wanna start with talking about something that I call the Crucible or the Gauntlet, depending on how you look at it.

Many of my clients will recognize this term because I talk about it a lot. Now, the gauntlet kind of refers to the stages in business where everything is terrible and nothing is working, and you have to just keep getting knocked down and getting back up again over and over and over again. Now, there’s a few stages that are really common to hit this spot and,the more sort of integrity-driven and values-driven, your work is the more frequently you tend to hit this point because it, you know, you are gonna get beat up a lot when you’re not focused on just revenue. So it can be difficult. And usually what prompts these moments is a moment of growth where you don’t know what you don’t know.

Now, I still hit these from time to time where you kind of can’t see the forest for the trees. You can’t see what the next thing is, and you can’t figure out where you, your work fits into it. So today that’s the big topic is What is the crucible or the gauntlet? We’re gonna use the gauntlet. I think I like that better.

What is the gauntlet? How do you know if you’re in it? How do you know when it’s gonna end and how do you get out of it? That’s what we’re gonna be talking about today.

First up, what is it? How do you know what it is? The most common one that I see with clients, clients come to me all the time, and you know, just the general people, my listeners, my readers come to me all the time with questions about like, How do you know when to level up? How do you know how to go from being one thing to being something else? How do you know if you have the stuff for that and how do you know what big looks like for you?

It’s a really, really difficult spot to be, and it’s all about perspective building and what’s possible for you. And there’s a lot of different ways you can come at answers. But one of the biggest reasons why I think clients hire me for one-on-one work is to help them parse out what’s valuable in their work from what’s not and what they should carry forward from their training, from their education, from their experience, and what they shouldn’t.

Because a lot of the stuff that we learn in our professional lives can end up being the very same things that beat you up when you’re doing kind of your bigger work in the world. When you move into that life’s work space where it’s like, this is what I wanna put my name on, this is what I want to be my signature. This is what I wanna stand for and what I want people to remember me for. It starts to get harder and harder.

I have a client right now, who was a personal trainer and she is incredibly capable and incredibly smart and incredibly talented, and she’s in that rough gauntlet spot where she can’t quite see how to take this, pretty straightforward conceptual learning that she did,

in book learning basically as a personal trainer, that’s kind of the same stuff that everybody in that industry learns mixed with the sales knowledge that she got from [00:04:00] working at gyms and all the stuff that kind of added up to like a little bit of disillusionment with the incomplete nature of her training, the incomplete nature of how she was taught to behave with clients. And she’s stuck between that and what to do next and what to do about it, right?

How do you figure out what’s possible for you when you don’t know what’s possible for you? When you don’t know what the other side could even look like?

Well, one of the clearest ways to do this is to start thinking about impact. Now, impact isn’t just like what you think you wanna do, it’s what you think is possible based on your experience.

You pull together your spheres of influence. You pull together your ability to make change. You pull together all your resources and all your assets, and you start to run those through the filter of

What’s the actual outcome that I can bring to people?

What do I wish I could have done in those past situations, in those past settings?

What would’ve benefited those people?

And do I have the skills and influence and reach and assets to actually help them get there?

Now, that’s a really complicated set of questions. It’s not super straightforward, and one of the first places that I help people work with this stuff and grapple with it is around

what are your influence points, and how broad do you want your message to be? Are you looking to make an impact on a small group of people or a wide group of people? Where are your skills best suited? And then what can you do with that?

So I’m gonna be working on a workshop that’s coming up here. There’s a teeny tiny pitch, but it’s for a free thing, so you know, I’m allowed to do that, but in a couple of weeks, if you’re listening to this later, sorry about that. It’s already passed. But, in a couple of weeks I’m gonna be premiering what I call Galaxy of Influence. Now, the Galaxy of Influence is a tool that I’ve developed over the last 10 years of working with clients on this stuff to actually game this. To figure out how much influence you have and how to figure out who to talk to and how much energy to spend and where, when you’re stuck in this like really tough crucible gauntlet spot where everything just feels like it’s knocking you down and you don’t know what to stand up and stand for.

So in a couple of weeks on June 19th, we’re gonna be doing a free workshop where I’m gonna walk you through this tool and it’s totally free and you can find more information for it on Facebook or Instagram. You’ll totally see the links there. Those are the best places to sign up, or if you’re on my mailing list, I’m sure you’ve gotten registration links already.

All of those things are pretty easy to find at On Facebook, I am You can now follow me there instead of having to friend me, which makes things a little bit easier and you’ll see advertisements for it there. So please come and sign up.

It’s gonna be really fun. It’s an hour long, it’s really quick, and you get the tool for free. I’m just gonna walk you through how to do it, and you’re gonna leave with something you can really use. So I hope that you’ll join us and I hope that you think about whether or not you’re in the gauntlet and what you might be able to do to get out of it, cuz it’s not, it doesn’t last forever, I promise. But you do need tools and skills to figure out how to have enough perspective to actually get yourself out of it.

Join me next time. We’re gonna keep talking about change. We’re going to keep talking about tools, we’re gonna keep talking about workshops that I’m offering because I’m gonna be doing these every single month, because I really want you guys to learn and I hope that you will join us for that.

And I also want everybody to know, I have a couple of rare spots open for one-on-one work. So if you’re interested in working with me directly, make sure you reach out in all the places. I’m pretty easy to find.

All right, everybody, have a really wonderful summer and I look forward to talking to you again soon.


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